Artist Intermission: Anxiety and Depression

I’m in a bit of an “artist intermission” full of anxiety, and the familiar depression that I’ve battled for many years. Nope, not a glamorous star here bringing awareness to those of us who live with depression and anxiety. And, I don’t have the resources to completely “take time off” to check in to a place of wellness to work on myself. Although I’m happy for those creatives who can work on their own wellness with time off and a dedicated (even inspirational) place to do it.

For me, I’m still here – in my home studio which has sat empty and alone for the past several weeks, just waiting for me to come back. I’ll admit that I’m acutely struggling right now.

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Not much going on here lately…

Meanwhile, some of you have asked what I do with myself?

Well, I sleep a lot. I’ve worked on office chores such as household budgeting and financial actuals. I sit in my green leather studio chair and pet studio cat Stan. I managed to finally update my website with snapshots from my Arctic Circle Expedition. I take pills and go to talk therapy. I attempt to help myself with hard-to-crack wellness workbooks. And, I generally try to get back into things I’ve enjoyed in days gone by like gardening… one weed pulled at a time.

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I’ve had this self-help workbook for months… I’m on page 18. ¬†ūüė¶

I miss painting my abstracts… I really do. Hopefully a new and inspirational project will come along for me soon. In the meantime, I’ll just try to tread water.

And a big thank-you to my husband, Steve, who through it all, helps and loves me lots.

The Arctic Circle Expedition – Part 3

Daunted by the experience itself and the 900 snapshots I took on the Expedition, I’ve clearly taken several months off from blogging more about my trip. Today I finally finished going through all of my snapshots, pulling out the better ones for publishing here on my blog and posting on my website.

The good news is that in the meantime, I completed the last larger commissions for my Kickstarter backers in late February, so everyone now has their arctic abstracts – over 80 that I painted – all inspired by my time in the ice and cold of the arctic circle.

Preparing for the Expedition, I had thought I’d be able to possibly paint on a table set up on the outside deck of the ship. But after two failed attempts to paint in the cold, snow and wind, I set up a makeshift studio on my bunkbed in my shared cabin. ¬†Tight quarters for sure, but I made it work and at least was out of the extreme elements!

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Tight painting quarters on the bunkbed in my shared cabin.
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Yes, for this hot-blooded guy, I did actually feel cold for most of the trip!
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Our first glacier hike.
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The glacier at Esmarkbreen.

Painting the Sea and Sky Like This Calms My Nerves

This year has been a struggle for me as I live my artist’s life with ongoing depression and rising anxiety. Some might say I’m just another “tortured” artist, but it has taken me 20+ years to become accustomed to¬†what “normal” feels like for me. And how I feel has¬†changed¬†alot this year for me.

So, as I work to get back to my own normal, one of my trusty therapies is my painting process. And besides trees, the sea and sky is one of my most favorite subjects. Painting the expansive sea and the ever-changing sky along with a nice, crisp horizon line holding them together almost always calms my nerves.

See what you think (and feel) with my latest sea and sky painting below. It’s titled No. 6 but is the only larger sea and sky painting to date that I’ve completely finished and mounted on panel. Click the painting or the link below to view it on my website.

Sure wish we were there in No. 6, don’t you?

Thanks for looking and for supporting my art!

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“Oregon Coast Sea and Sky No. 6”, oil and metallic watercolor on panel, 12 x 12 inches, $400 (available on my website).

Met the Property Brothers, and… I’m Still on a Square Binge!

I’ve been painting squares like never before recently… which for me is saying alot!¬† I’m even doing a bit of collage application – here are some 1″ x 1″ squares that I’ve applied to a larger painting.¬† Incidently, I met the Property Brothers – Drew, Jonathan and JD Scott – this past weekend at a private meet and greet here in Columbus.¬† I’m a HUGE fan and presented them with some of my original artwork.¬† The painting below was one of them!

Steve and I with the very TALL Property Brothers.
Steve and I with the very TALL Property Brothers.
Collaged squares on a recent painting... now in the collection of the Property Brothers!
Collaged squares on a recent painting… now in the collection of the Property Brothers!

How Do I Solve A Problem Like Michael W Smith?

I’ve been a fan of Michael W Smith’s music for a long time – surely over 25 years.¬† His music and message always inspire me… all year around and at the holidays.¬† His music is especially a favorite of mine for listening in my studio.

I recently commented here that I was listening to some of my favorite holiday music in my studio, including Michael W Smith, and received an interesting message from one of my blog fans.¬† In a nutshell, the point was, how do I reconcile being a big fan of a musician who most likely would condemn and oppress me for being gay?¬† I’ll¬†admit that it is a question that I’ve avoided researching¬†over the years, not really wanting to confirm anything.¬† But, this message from a fan made me google around to see what I could find.¬† I didn’t really stop to think how I would solve this problem, depending upon what I found out…

Well,¬†there doesn’t seem to be much out there about what Michael W Smith thinks of gay folks.¬† But, he does have a recent, dramatic video on his website that encourages conservatives to vote and highlights the fear of “redefining marraige” as a motivator.¬† He also seems to be a fan of Rick Santorum, and we all know what he thinks of gay¬†Americans.

So, how do I solve a problem like Michael W Smith?¬† Is there a problem? Can I just not care what he thinks and still be inspired by his music? I’m certainly not a book-or-CD-burning kind of guy, but will I stop listening to his music?¬† Blech – I don’t know.

Maybe I’ll try focusing on a simple message that is on his live Worship album.¬† I wrote it down to send to members of my family years ago and dug it out to hang back up in my studio today:

Michael W Smith, live from his Worship album to the crowd in Louisville, KY...
Michael W Smith, live from his Worship album to the crowd in Louisville, KY…

Denver, CO –> Columbus, OH…. Did I Get Lost?

Dear Art Fans –

Where do I begin?¬† Well, perhaps I’ll¬†start with where I ended up…. Columbus, Ohio.¬† Nine months ago, the cats and I¬†made the two-day drive from Denver to Columbus to join my partner, Steve, in our new home.¬† Steve had received an opportunity to transfer within his company to the regional office in Columbus and, since we had been talking about “going on an adventure” for awhile, we jumped on it.¬† And landed smack in the middle of Ohio.

While Steve’s new job got off to a great start, I quickly became deeply involved in helping care for my 85-year-old Uncle Jack.¬† The court here in Ohio appointed me his legal guardian and I spent much of the Spring and Summer travelling up to Cleveland to help care for Uncle Jack’s health and finances.¬† Sadly, my Uncle Jack passed away at the end of the Summer… may he rest in peace!

So, now I’m making art in my basement studio that I’ve set up.¬† A lot of pent-up paintings are now flowing.¬† They’ll be showing up here soon, so stay tuned for more posts from Columbus!